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This week's top stories: Klimt Sells for Record $108m & Bilbao’s Yayoi Kusama Blockbuster Opens

5 min read  ·  29 Jun 2023

A test mint from Vera Molnar's 'Themes and Variations'. Courtesy of Sotheby's

Dame Mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan), Gustav Klimt, 1917-18.

Dame Mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan), Gustav Klimt, 1917-18.

Klimt's 'Lady With a Fan' Auctioned for a Record-Breaking $108.4M

The final portrait painted by Gustav Klimt, Lady With a Fan, set a new auction record for the artist at $108.4 million, surpassing the previous highest public sale in Europe. After vigorous bidding from three Asian collectors it was secured by Hong Kong-based art advisor Patti Wong. The record price re-establishes London's prestige in Europe's high-value art market post-Brexit, reported the NYT. (The New York Times)

Christie's 20th/21st Century Evening Sale in London Generates $81.1M

Despite the inclusion of big names, most lots in Christie's 20th/21st Century evening sale in London sold for prices below or near their low estimates. The auction was particularly focused on portraiture but an 1896 landscape by Paul Signac was the star lot, selling for $8.5m. Several contemporary artists, including Diane Dal-Pra and Ahmed Mater, saw their work sell above estimates, setting new auction records. (ARTnews)

Sotheby's to Launch New Generative Art Program

Sotheby's is inaugurating a generative art program, recognizing leading digital artists through entirely on-chain sales. The first sale, due to be held on July 26, will feature work by Vera Molnar, a pioneer of digital art. The program, powered by the Art Blocks Engine, introduces the Dutch auction format, with all sales denominated in ETH. This initiative represents another step in Sotheby's deepening engagement with the digital art community, following a series of successful NFT sales. (CoinDesk)


Architecture project developed for the 35th Bienal de São Paulo by Vão Architecture office. Courtesy of The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.

Guggenheim Bilbao Opens Yayoi Kusama Retrospective

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao's "Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now," is a sprawling retrospective featuring 200 works by Japan's most famous female artist. It includes drawing made by Yayoi Kusama when growing up during World War II to her signature immersive installations. (E-Flux)

35th Bienal de São Paulo Unveils Artists

The Bienal de São Paulo has revealed the 120 participants for the 35th edition of the prestigious exhibition, titled "Choreographies of the Impossible." Due to open on September 6 (until December 10), the exhibition will highlight Black, Indigenous, and non-white artists, and artists from the Global South. (Art Africa Magazine)

Review: "Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952-1982" at LACMA

A review of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's exhibition, "Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952-1982", about the pioneers of computer, digital and time-based art. The show "brings back to life all sorts of creaky experiments and fugitive objects realized across the postwar era by artists itching to expand their toolbox with the most advanced tools, data-organizing and form-driving, science could provide them". (Whitehotmagazine)


Nicholas Galanin, In every language there is Land / En cada idioma hay Tierra (2023). Presented by the Public Art Fund. Brooklyn Bridge Park. Copyright the artist. Courtesy of Peter Blum, New York. Photo by Nicholas Knight

Indigenous Artist Nicholas Galanin Unveils Monumental Sculpture in Brooklyn

Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin's monumental sculpture, made of weathered-steel spelling out the word "LAND", now dominates Brooklyn Bridge Park. The politically engaged work, a Public Art Fund comission, helped boost Galanin's HENI Score—a unique artist sentiment—an impressive 149%. (HENI News)

Pete Townshend Talks Solo Music, Touring, and Connection with Damien Hirst

The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend has released his first solo single since 1993, "Can’t Outrun the Truth," with artwork created by Damien Hirst. Hirst's spin painting sold at Sotheby’s on June 28, for just over £160,000 with proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. (The Times)

South African artist Zanele Muholi Explores Politics of the Body in New Exhibition

The leading South African artist Zanele Muholi has unveiled new bronze sculptures and portrait photographs in her solo show at Southern Guild, Cape Town. In a compelling Q&A, Muholi talks about their choice of materials, the symbolism in their art, and the socio-political conversations their work aims to stimulate, including topics on gender, health, and the violation of female anatomy. (ArtThrob)

National Portrait Gallery Director on Embracing Diversity and Equality

Director Nicholas Cullinan has completed a three-year renovation of London's National Portrait Gallery, creating a more inclusive environment with less of a "gentlemen’s-club vibe". The revamp includes increased representation of women in its 20th and 21st-century collections and bronze doors designed by Tracey Emin. (The New Yorker)


Illustration showing plans for Kunstsilo art gallery.

Israel Lends Rare Artifact to Russian Exhibition

While Europe's museums have temporarily suspended their links with leading Russian museums, Israel Antiquities Authority has lent an object to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. The move has drawn criticism from Ukraine but the Foreign Ministry of Israel defended the cultural exchange, emphasizing its importance to the local Jewish community. (Haaretz)

Nicolai Tangen, Head of the World's Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund, Opens Art Gallery

Nicolai Tangen, hedge fund manager and CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, plans to open a museum housing his collection of Nordic modernist art. The former grain silo in Kristiansand, a city in southern Norway, is due to open later this year. Tangen has also pledged to donate his estimated £550m fortune before his death, with a focus on education and the arts. (Observer)

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